Living on Purpose: Does That Mean Being Broke?

For The Love of Money

Yesterday’s “In The News” featured an article about the financial illiteracy of women and today the featured question is – “Does Living on Purpose Mean Being Broke?”

Just after posting that article, bustling around my very large kitchen/dining room I was listening to an interaction between my current spiritual guide and a man who claims to be listed on the Forbes 500 Richest People In The World. He made mention of this not to brag, or at least that was not my impression, but to ask the question – Should rich people be giving away their wealth to show how spiritual they are?

millionaireThis multi-millionaire made reference to a very popular spiritual teacher, one that I sometimes listen to or watch on PBS. What was bothering this very wealthy and rich gentleman was the ‘guru’s seeming suggestion that, to demonstrate one’s spirituality, you should give away your money as much as possible. Apparently this teacher had done that and has actually been appearing bare feet – as a mark of his humility not necessarily poverty – on stages across the world.

Without waiting to hear the spiritual guide’s response, I gave mine. “Absolutely, freaking not!”

Prosperity and Pseudo-Poverty Teachings

Many years ago, I walked away from the traditional church and was wandering without a compass for quite some time. In the 1990’s, I was introduced to a spiritual organisation that would change my life. While professing Christianity, it was with a “new thought” about the faith.

That would be my spiritual home for several years until we migrated to Canada and I found myself again without a physical church to call home. This time, however, it did not matter as my purpose and calling was coming into focus. A church would have been a distraction.

Just as the prosperity teaching of my former sanctuary was becoming.

bagRich vs. Wealthy

This is becoming a very personal story, but it serves to illustrate my point about finding your purpose and the financial resources that you need will follow. It must. It is the law of life.

Many people go after the money thinking that the pursuit of it will bring them to their purpose. They want to be rich and then find their purpose. Like the person working to retire to enjoy what he/she worked for all those 40+ years.

Others stand still – afraid to reach for their dreams as they fear they cannot make a living, pay the bills through the arts, music or some other creative venture, as examples. So they go to jobs they hate every day, singing “Woe is me” or praying to win the lottery. “Then I will be rich and can give to charity and do all those things that I have always wanted to do,” they think.

Then there are those who understand that stepping intentionally into your purpose and living fully and serving others will eventually bring you to more financial wealth and well-being than you could have imagined.

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Money Cannot Buy Your Purpose

You will not find or live with purpose because you have money, no matter how much. Experience has taught that many ‘broke’ people live more on purpose that many rich people. With less focus on what they have and how much they could lose, they often pay more attention to their relationships and how they are being in the world than their many millions. However, that is not true of every ‘broke’ person or even of every ‘rich’ person. The meaning of life and the journey you need to take to achieve happiness is different for everyone, which is why it’s important to take the time to do some self exploration. Visit a retreat for some guidance on how to approach this challenge, looking into what ayahuasca is and does for example, which is one form of spiritual healing.

In an interview with the Entrepreneur magazine, Cole Hatter, a multi-million-dollar entrepreneur, made this very interesting statement:

“Every person should aspire to make as much money as they possibly can, but not just to get rich, but to create wealth in the things that really matter.”

The challenge I have with the prosperity teachings you often hear is when it stops at getting rich. Too many of these teachers and ministers, in their eagerness, to prove God’s omnipotence, fail to continue with an explanation regarding wealth creation and why. On the other hand, the teachings of gurus that suggest that once you have followed your passion and have created a life of purpose and wealth, you should give it away in order to be considered spiritually evolved is just as misleading.

Broken, Broke and On Purpose

There is no shame in being wealthy. Actually, there is no shame either in being ‘broke’.

In my books, being broke simply means a:


Reality is

Opening up so


Engaging life.

Holocaust survivor – or my preferred word “Thriver” – Viktor E. Frankl it was who wrote one of the best explanation, in my opinion, of living on purpose: “For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”

angelloThere is a purpose in every way that humans or other beings live. When my companion of many years, my dog Angello, ran away I did not cry. My daughter, who often think of me as cold, wept, worried and wondered why I was not doing the same. This was not the first time Angello had taken off but he always came back. When he did not return by the next morning, it was clear to me that he had served his purpose in my life – seen me through a most traumatic period of chronic depression and suicide attempts. Five years later, as my heart was on its way to being healed, Angello left.

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His leaving opened the door for me to move on – emotionally and physically. I was broke, bankrupt and healing from severe brokenness. With Angello’s departure, the way to my purpose started clearing.

A Purpose Economy

If you have embarked on your journey of purpose, welcome! This is the moment, this is the time. Even some economists are awakening to this shift in our existence as human beings.

hurstUnlike the naysayers and the doomsday prophets, my lot is cast with people like Aaron Hurst, a leading social entrepreneur and someone who “talks about how the growing desire for personal growth and a sense of community is changing the economy.”

In a recent interview in The Forbes (India) Magazine, explaining why he believes we are shifting from an Information Economy to a Purpose Economy, Hurst said: “I believe this [time] represents the next fundamental shift in our economic history. The most exciting opportunities in the coming decade will be around finding ways to take massive and dysfunctional industries like education, health care and finance, and make them human again. Already, technology has made it possible to have a personal relationship with your doctor or to borrow money from a neighbour instead of a bank.”

“Smart” companies, according to Hurst, are becoming more aligned with what consumers really want, being more mindful of the needs of their employees outside of the workplace and helping people such as small farmers, start-ups and artisans around the world connect. Wealth creation is taking on new forms, supported by technology but with building relationships more in focus.

Living and working with purpose, says Hurst, “is far more about the journey than the destination. Day-to-day living, relationships with others, doing something greater than one’s own self, and personal growth are all examples of what makes up purpose for people.”

Money can and is being made along this journey but wealth – of relationships, interactions, connections and service – is the destination, one that will be an eternal mission.

Interested in being a driver in this purpose economy as you live a purpose-filled life in your corner of this expanding Universe? Read more of Hurst’s interview here and share your thoughts with me.

How can you capitalize the “e” in your B.R.O.K.E.? What small step can you take to live your purpose?

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